At Google’s annual developer conference in 2018, a new artificial intelligence (AI) technology called Duplex made a dinner reservation over the phone. This was done without confusing the person on the other end of the line – they had no idea they were talking to a robot.

Google proved the importance of AI and machine learning as the technologies develop and become an ever-present part of our lives.

But, what is Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning?

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a computer-based model used to complete tasks that would normally require a human via a set of rules or algorithm.

Machine Learning, which falls under AI, is the concept that a computer program can learn new rules and adapt to new data to improve upon an algorithm to get better results.

  • A recent study by Business Insider suggests that as much as 85% of customer interactions will be managed without a human by 2020.
  • A recent study by Gartner shows that by 2020, smart personalization engines used to recognize customer intent will enable digital businesses to increase their profits by up to 15%.

We’re starting to see AI and machine learning take off as businesses discover its many benefits.

Budweiser, the world’s largest beer maker, is one of its early adopters. They are using sensors and machine learning to help predict machinery malfunction at their Fort Collins, Colorado brewery. The low-cost sensors are able to detect ultrasonic sounds beyond the grasp of the human ear. When these sounds are detected, it’s an early indicator that the machine needs maintenance.

The Veteran’s Administration (the VA) thinks that AI and machine learning could help reduce kidney damage. More than half of adults admitted to an ICU today all have this life-threatening condition. That’s why the VA worked with Google parent Alphabet’s DeepMind unit to create software that works to predict which patients are likely to develop an acute kidney injury (AKI).

Clearcover, a Chicago-based auto insurance startup, is using AI and machine learning to more effectively market auto insurance. Clearcover’s API integrates with websites (like personal finance apps, automotive websites and insurance shopping sites) that have the data it needs to understand which customers are likely looking to buy car insurance eminently. A visitor to one of these sites or applications then sees an ad with information about Clearcover’s insurance options.

These uses of AI and machine learning are gaining recognition because they are changing the game of the industries they are a part of.

The good news is, you can start much smaller. Integrating AI and machine learning into your B2B sales process is quicker and easier than you think.

Here are 3 ways AI and Machine Learning can improve your B2B Sales:

1.AI and machine learning offer better customer insights to your sales team.

AI and machine learning are able to provide a more in-depth view of customers and prospects to your sales reps.

A recent survey found that 73% of top B2B businesses say AI is an essential or high priority for sales and marketing in the next two years.

AI and machine learning are able to extract any type of information; from product data to site heat maps to company descriptions from LinkedIn. These data sources allow the algorithms to identify patterns and trends. This provides the basis for predictive sales and marketing, lead scoring, and forecasting. This functionality is what you’re seeing in many marketing and sales automation tools today.

Sales teams can take advantage of machine learning to analyze prices and provide dynamic pricing based on a pre-defined set of rules applied to each prospect.

You can also utilize AI and machine learning to streamline the sales processes. Reps can use the algorithms to prioritize accounts that need more attention, which products see a seasonal fluctuation, and complementary products and services to offer.

2. AI and machine learning offer a better Customer Service to your customers.

ECommerce revolutionized selling by allowing customers to place their own orders online from anywhere, any time. Now, chatbots are revolutionizing how customers interact with your B2B business.

A chatbot is a service, powered by rules and AI, that customers can interact with through a chat interface. Chatbots give your customers access to you 24/7/365.

1 out of 5 customers is willing to purchase goods from a chatbot.

Utilizing AI and machine learning, you can select rules and scenarios that allow a chatbot to answer common questions and even place orders on behalf of customers.

3. AI and machine learning improve the buying experience.

When a customer is researching products online, they expect relevant results quickly. AI and machine learning can speed up the process by anticipating results and analyzing previous purchases and search history.

As a customer browses and places orders, a machine learning algorithm learns trends and insights about the customer.  It’s then able to recommended products, complementary parts, and suggested services.

A recent survey said 91% of top US decision makers acknowledged that their company needs to improve upon its personalization capabilities.

As the novelty of being able to make purchases online wears off, B2B businesses have the opportunity to differentiate themselves from competitors with future-looking features.

You can ensure that a customer becomes a repeat customer by focusing on providing a personalized experience. AI and machine learning can help with that.

AI and machine learning have the potential to disrupt the B2B world. When these technologies are at the core of the digital experience, B2B businesses transform their operations and customer experiences.

The once far-fetched dream of customers receiving completely unique online experiences is now within reach.

The concept of computers learning and getting smarter is not just for Sci-Fi movies anymore. Future-looking technologies like AI and machine learning allow you to do more for your customers as a B2B business.

 

It’s technologies like these that influenced our predictions for B2B eCommerce in 2019. If you’re curious as to what’s ahead, download your own copy.

2019 B2B eCommerce Predictions_Four51

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